UPCOMING EVENT: YETI FLW COLLEGE FISHING - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Olson owns Oahe

Pro Eric Olson of Red Wing, Minn., took home $36,157 and his first Walleye Tour trophy after winning on Lake Oahe.

PIERRE, S.D. - Eric Olson has passed many significant milestones in his 11 years as an FLW Walleye pro: a half-dozen top-10 finishes, championship berths, over $140,000 in earnings and high-profile sponsorships. But despite those accomplishments, he's traveled the tour with a glaring hole in his resume - no winner's trophy. That all changed Saturday when he netted his first Walleye Tour win on Lake Oahe.

Not only did Olson string together three great days on the water to win this Western Division event and $36,157 (including Ranger and Evinrude bonuses), he had to outfish a couple of savvy local pros to enter the winner's circle - including the formidable Gerrick McComsey, the 2003 winner on Lake Sharpe, which lies just below the Oahe Dam.

"The whole day long I said, `We can win this thing,'" Olson said, "but I still can't believe it happened. I don't think I'll get much sleep tonight."

Olson was the embodiment of consistency and poise this week on Oahe. On day one, he sacked a five-walleye limit weighing 14 pounds, 13 ounces and placed third while fishing with co-angler Ryan Kelly; Olson took over the lead on day two, when he fished with Robert Dube for a limit weighing 15-2; today he registered another limit with David Hosek (the co-angler winner) for another 15 1/2 pounds. His three-day winning weight was 45-7.
Pro Eric Olson of Red Wing, Minn., caught five walleyes weighing 15 pounds, 8 ounces Saturday to win the FLW Walleye Tour Western Division tournament on Oahe Lake. He had had a three-day catch of 15 walleyes weighing 45-7.
Olson found his confidence during practice, plotting out the patterns and areas - in the northwest portion of Little Bend - that would ultimately garner him victory. By tournament time he was in the zone.

"This week I fished a little technique I think a lot of people around here by now are familiar with - it's called `Slow Death' (a presentation using a bent hook for live bait, usually night crawlers, that creates a corkscrew presentation and life-like action)," Olson said. "So I give David Spade (local guide and tournament angler who developed the technique) all the credit in the world. He's been phenomenal with showing me little ins and outs.

"We're running crawlers, and today we put an orange bead on to change it up a bit."

Olson's primary area from days one and two was an "open-flat point" that he fished on the outside with the wind blowing from the south. When the wind switched today and he was still fishless by 11 a.m., he moved about 300 yards to fish the inside, where he welcomed current and a mudline.

"Today we found current ... it was almost like fishing back home," said the Red Wing, Minn., pro whose home water is the Mississippi River. "With the wind like that, fish go and hang in the current at creek mouths."

Olson mostly fished in water from 13 to 17 feet deep and said all week he could pattern the walleyes at Pro Gerrick McComsey of Fort Pierre, S.D., was runner-up on Lake Oahe.any depth in his areas; he fished a little shallower today.

"I had an absolute joy the last three days," he said.

Mistakes cost McComsey

Fort Pierre, S.D., pro Gerrick "Mac" McComsey might be haunted for a while by some of the decisions he made this week on his home water. Despite weighing in the two heaviest sacks of the tournament over the final two days - 17 pounds and 16 pounds - McComsey's total weight of 43-10 wasn't enough to snare a second Walleye Tour win.

"I made two big mistakes," he said. "On day one I threw two fish back: a 2-2 and a 2-pounder (that day he ended up one walleye shy of a limit). And yesterday I killed three fish that cost me a pound and a half (due to a rough return trip from the Cheyenne River area)."

McComsey returned to the spot Saturday that had produced so well on day two, only to find it empty after the wind had switched directions.

"They were nowhere to be found today," he said. "I only had one fish at 1:15 (p.m.) today. I don't know how many miles I put on, but it was a lot. Finally we found some on a point, and in about 45 minutes we were done. It just goes to show: Never give up."

McComsey reported catching all his big fish this week, and he had some monsters, on a live-bait rig Pierre, S.D., pro Paul Steffen placed third on Oahe.with a creek chub minnow. He earned $4,838 for second place.

Steffen settles for third

Friday's runner-up, local pro Paul Steffen of Pierre, S.D., ended the tournament in third place with a three-day total of 41-5 worth $4,170. He was fishing in his first FLW event this week.

Steffen said he was fishing "way back inside creek arms in really shallow water" today north of the Cheyenne River for his 13-2 limit. He fished a little deeper yesterday, in about 10 to 20 feet, and caught his walleyes live-bait rigging with leeches and night crawlers.

Maher finishes fourth

Pro Gary Maher of Menoken, N.D., caught a 10-11 limit today for a total tournament weight of 38-2, fourth place and $7,000 including Ranger and Evinrude bonuses. This week's tourney on Oahe marked his first top-10 finish in Walleye Tour competition.

"We had to really scratch around to get them," he said. "They all moved, so we had to fish new water today."

Maher said he caught the majority of his fish this week "pulling crankbaits." And if he marked some fish on points with his GPS unit, he'd return to them later and try to catch them with a live-bait rig.

Minke fifth

Pro Dusty Minke of Forest Lake, Minn. - a two-time FLW Walleye League tournament winner - picked up his second straight top-10 finish in the Walleye Tour Western Division this week. His 10-11 limit today gave him a total weight of 38-1, good enough for fifth place and $3,834 including a Ranger bonus.
Pro Dusty Minke placed fifth on Lake Oahe.
Minke gave glowing reviews of Lake Oahe, which he was fishing for the first time this week, and his co-angler, Mike Pellerzi of Pierre, S.D.

"I've gotten to fish with Mike two times this week, and he's just a great guy and a great angler," he said. "We saw some big waves today."

Minke said they fished live-bait rigs with night crawlers and Northland Tackle bottom bouncers in 8 to 13 feet of water on primary and secondary points. He said he would "pinch a little off" of the crawler for a better presentation.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pros who fished the FLW Walleye Tour Western event on Lake Oahe:

6th: Chevy pro Jason Przekurat of Stevens Point, Wis., 14 walleyes, 37-2, $3,271*
7th: Nick Schertz of Tomahawk, Wis., 15 walleyes, 37-0, $3,018*
8th: Brian Brosdahl of Max, Minn., 15 walleyes, 36-11, $2,765*
9th: Byron Peterson of Blair, Neb., 14 walleyes, 34-10, $1,012
10th: Barry Walker of Big Springs, Neb., 10 walleyes, 27-7, $759
*includes contingency prize money

FLW Walleye Tour Western actions resumes July 29-31 on Devils Lake at Devils Lake, N.D., the final event of the regular season for that division. The Walleye Tour Championship will be held Sept. 22-25 on Leech Lake in Walker, Minn.

Tags: patrick-baker  headline-story  2010-06-24-lake-oahe 

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